‘Mass-hysteria’ hits some 250 students in Bohol – town mayor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) – Around 250 students of San Jose National High School (SJNSH) in Talibon, Bohol were struck by a case of “mass hysteria” during a Holy Mass service on Friday morning, the town mayor said.

Mayor Janette Aurestila-Garcia – citing Dr. Miguelito S. Jayoma, the chief of Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital (GMPH) – said on Facebook that of the 250 students, 135 were admitted to the hospital, with two still confined but in stable condition.

Atty. Lenard Querubin, a netizen who witnessed the phenomenon and posted a video of it on his Facebook page, said the students began exhibiting “unusual behavior” and some even fainted.

The video showed several students slumped on plastic chairs, being fanned or calmed down by adults. A girl was carried to an ambulance, while another leaned on someone as she walked.

Local emergency responders were immediately called to the scene to tend to the students.

SJNSH Principal Edwin Corbita canceled classes for the day and sent the students home, the mayor also shared.

Garcia, in her post, asked netizens to refrain from spreading false information as it would cause fear and panic among the victims and their families.

"Hysteria is defined as a constellation of symptoms suggestive of physical illness with no identifiable cause and little evidence of disease," according to the US National Institutes of Heath. "Mass hysteria is described as the appearance of these symptoms among a group of people."

Mass hysteria can occur in the work place and commonly in schools, it added.